Mar 30, 2017

SGR Partner and Former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court Leah Ward Sears Invited to Join the Amicus Curiae Committee of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers


ATLANTA (March 30, 2017) – Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP (SGR) is pleased to announce that Partner and former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, Leah Ward Sears, has been invited to join the Amicus Curiae Committee of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers (AAAL).

The AAAL is an invitation only organization limited to 500 lawyers exclusively, called Fellows, who must “possesses a reputation of recognized distinction as an appellate lawyer.” The AAAL’s stated mission is to “advance the highest standards and practices of appellate advocacy and to recognize outstanding appellate lawyers.”

Through its Amicus Curiae Committee, the AAAL sometimes files “friend of the court” briefs in state and federal courts in cases of importance to the judicial process. The Amicus Curiae Committee provides legal research and other assistance to advance certain legal and policy positions adopted by the AAAL.

Given the explosion of the use of amicus curiae briefs in the last few years, the AAAL’s Amicus Committee also explores when amicus participation is needed by courts, how to obtain the best amicus support, and what makes an effective amicus brief.

Ms. Sears is a Partner in SGR’s Litigation Practice. Among her many roles, she is an appellate lawyer, oral advocate and strategist, in addition to often serving as a neutral in arbitration proceedings and mediations. Ms. Sears was the first woman and youngest person ever to sit on Georgia’s Supreme Court when she was appointed in 1992. She was also the first woman to hold a position on the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia.

About the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers

Since its founding in 1990, the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers (AAAL) has committed itself to advancing the administration of justice and promoting the highest standards of professionalism and advocacy in appellate courts. Membership in AAAL is reserved for experienced appellate advocates who have demonstrated the highest skill level and integrity. Nominations to the organization can only be made by current Fellows. Nominees are thoroughly vetted by the legal and judicial communities in a confidential process and must be elected to the fellowship by the board of directors. Because of these high standards, Academy Fellows rank among the “Who’s Who” of appellate practice in the jurisdictions where they appear. For more information, visit

About Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP

SGR is a full service, international law firm that advises regional, national and global businesses on a wide range of legal matters. The firm’s more than 200 attorneys provide legal counsel in more than 45 specialized practice areas, including corporate transactions, litigation, intellectual property, aviation, banking, construction and employment law. Founded in 1893, SGR has offices in Atlanta, Austin, Jacksonville, London, Munich, New York, Southampton, and Washington, D.C.

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